I’m Back! :)

All the food and drink you could want in the backdrop of a tropical paradise. Yeah, I would call that a great getaway! And it was, except for a few things. While we didn’t encounter a hurricane this time, let me tell you, what an adventure…

The intention was to unplug and relax, and we did. I left my laptop at home, only bringing my Kindle to catch up on the many titles in my library. The goal was to read as many as possible, also jotting down thoughts to turn into reviews which I would post when I got back. I ended up reading nineteen books, so I think I nailed that goal!

While this vacation was definitely filled with much-needed downtime, who would have thought that we’d also have to deal with an ear infection, a frozen shoulder, and COVID. Yes, the dreaded COVID. We outran it for two years but finally succumbed to it. We’re okay, but I have to tell you, it sucks.

My husband dealt with mild symptoms, me – not so much. Due to my heart issues, my doc felt it best to be on Paxlovid. After three days of full-on flu symptoms, I finally started feeling a little better. Now, let’s just hope there are no other immediate aftermath complications or effects years down the road, which current research shows have the potentiality of becoming a reality.

Oh, and Paxlovid-mouth is a real thing. I’m looking forward to that nastiness leaving my tastebuds in the next couple of days. The pharmacist promised that it would eventually dissipate.

So, I’m back. A little battered, but ready to get back to the blog! While it wasn’t the idyllic ending to our time off, this past month has been somewhat restorative for me mentally.

June 18 – Wounds I Healed Book Launch & Release Date!!

Below is the description of the anthology as it will appear on Amazon:

Award-winning authors, Pushcart nominees, emerging poets, voices of women and men, come to the fore in this stunning, powerful, and unique anthology. Their poems testify to the challenges that women face in our society, and to their power to overcome them. A memorable collection of over 200 poems by more than 100 authors, this anthology is a must-have for anyone. We all can benefit from the poetry of survival, and of healing. We all can benefit from the experiences so beautifully evoked in this book. We can all come together to emerge triumphant from pain.

On the day of the release, the Book Launch event will be live-streamed via social media, so everyone will have a chance to hear poems from the anthology read by the poets themselves. For further updates check Gabriela’s or Ingrid’s social media accounts:

Twitter
@shortprose1 (Gabriela Marie Milton)
@Experimentsinfc (Ingrid Wilson)

Instagram
@experimentsinfiction
@gabriela_marie_milton

I’m so excited for this anthology to release soon! Can’t wait to read the incredible voices that are showcased in this powerful book.

Social Justice Inks Available NOW!!

Thanks to Lisa Tomey, Editor, and Zan Johns, Co-editor, for selecting my three pieces – Priorities, Ravaged, and Man-made – for this anthology! I’m so proud to be among all this talent on such relevant topics. Please consider picking up a copy, and supporting their efforts!

Social Justice Inks has been published, and is available now! You can find them at these links below:

Lulu
Amazon

The book launch is scheduled for June 20, 7 p.m. EST. Here is the Registration link to sign up: MEETUP Unfortunately, I have a prior commitment, but I hope to see the recording after. Would love to see all your lovely faces! 🙂

2 Pieces Accepted for Wounds I Healed Anthology!!

Good news, first thing this morning! The upcoming anthology Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women notified me that my two pieces My Self Evolving and Loud, were selected! This highly anticipated anthology, edited by Gabriela Marie Milton (Short Prose) and published by Ingrid Wilson (Experiments in Fiction), debuts in early June 2022. I’m grateful they felt my thoughts spoke the message of this anthology—the power and boldness of strong women. Thank you so much, Gabriela and Ingrid.

Stay tuned for more information about its upcoming release!

Published in OpenDoor Magazine online & in Quarterly Anthology – Joy, War, and Favourite Things!

The theme was Favourite Things and Curled Up was selected for the online publication and featured in the third quarter anthology! Woot woot! I want to thank Mel & Kassie for including my work, such an honor. 🙂

Published in Pine Cone Review – Survival Issue

I am so pleased and grateful to Susmita Paul – Founder and Editor-in-Chief, and all those on the editorial team facilitating the selection process at Pinecone Review, for accepting my piece Sleeping in Colors for this special edition! How wonderful to have been chosen to be amongst these talented writers, poets, and artists in this issue on such a relevant topic in today’s world. Thank you so much! I am honored to be in this publication.

You can find this online edition by clicking HERE. I do hope you enjoy all the valuable contributions presented there. You can find all their thoughts by clicking on the Prose, Poetry, and Visual Artworks tabs at the bottom of the post.

Let’s Take A Journey With Annabel Harz

I was touched to have Annabel reach out to me to read her poetry books – Journey into the Dark and the Light & Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine. Having never done a book review on my blog, it was an honor to do this for a fellow poet. Plus, getting out of my day-to-day routine to try something new is good for me. I felt up to it with my current schedule, and more importantly, enthusiastic in providing one for her.   

The titles and prefaces of both books immediately set the tone; you know you are going on an emotional journey with Anna as she recounts and confronts the darkness in her childhood. While the subject matter is a difficult topic, her superb writing continually has you standing with her, however painful it might have been to deal with. The honesty reflected endears you to her with each piece, then championing her success in the latter chapters of each book. The first part recounts the aftermath of the abuse, while the second part speaks to recovery and hope. All of humanity can identify with tragic circumstances and having hope; that is life! In her words and art, these books reinforce the idea that we can all overcome our adversities. It may take some time, but clarity does come if we face it.  

After finishing the first book and immediately devouring the second, it was plain to see that they are both about courage. Whether subconsciously through the artwork Anna immersed herself in or how she expressed her feelings, it was courage that enabled her to bring her past to the forefront. It pushed her to confront all the trauma endured during her most innocent of times. In these books, Anna shows us the necessary steps she took to understand what she ultimately came face to face with—being taken advantage of, misused, and abused in her childhood. No one should have to experience these things during this most vulnerable and innocent state, but she did, bravely. In doing so, she propelled herself toward a life relieved of the depression and the nagging lack of connection she had felt in her childhood and beyond. Annabel was filled with hope and a changed outlook. These books are a testament to what addressing the somber and horrific bits in our lives can do for our psyche. They share with us not only the possibility that things could get better but that we can thrive in an even happier and more stable future for having done so.  

What is saddening is that in a society where this occurs too often, many readers will probably be able to identify with Annabel’s excruciatingly honest reflections, art, and thoughts, having gone through similar situations. But on the other hand, should these pages reach them, they will learn that hope is on the horizon if they can break through their trauma too. Possibly they will see their necessary healing tucked in these words and images. Ultimately, it’s a beautiful thought these books could have a pay-it-forward effect on a large segment of readers.  

I’m thankful that Annabel asked me to read her books; they will stay in my thoughts for some time to come. I will likely review them often as the writing is direct, honest, and carries such depth. It’s a habit of mine to gravitate towards good writing.  

I leave you with a sample of her exquisite writing. This piece is from the first book – Journey into the Dark and the Light

Feeling Small and Lost 
 
My inner child cries,  
“Help!”  
as my outer adult stands and watches,  
unable to move,  
unable to talk,  
unable to assist … 

even unable to scream.  
 
How will I find my way  
out of this dark labyrinth—  
what others call my mind—  
if I cannot  
move forward  
and help myself?  

The road is long, and I am weary;  
I am cold, and I feel old.  

What will be my salvation?  
Where will I find my asylum? 

Surely not inside myself,  
for I feel I have meagre strength  
for such a  
hard journey  
into the depths of my soul. 

Yet, from within it must be. 

May you be moved to read the rest of Annabel’s work! You won’t regret it. Click the links here – Journey into the Dark and the Light & Journey into the Shadow and the SunshineYou can also find her blog HERE

Poetry Partner #38 at The Skeptics Kaddish!

As a poet, I prefer being a loner. I should say usually. Recently, however, I decided to step out of my comfort zone a bit and collaborate with David of The Skeptics Kaddish. What prompted me to was the beauty of ALL the pieces which have been posted to date. David is a wonderful poet who complements the original inspiration. The poetry he produces enhances them so beautifully!

I hope you enjoy this collaboration and please do visit his blog for more incredible writing!

Disappearance, or: Endurance 

Poetry Partners #38 

‘My Disappearance’ by Susi Bocks of ‘I Write Her’ 

it’s my nature
to withdraw
when unbalanced
for no reason at all 

i retreat to a safe space
like bear cubs denning 
i’m not languishing 
i’m dormant with melancholy

seeking shelter protects my soul
giving respite and comfort
surrounded by nothing but time
it revives me 

double acrostic blank verse poem by ben Alexander of ‘The Skeptic’s Kaddish’ 

Dormant with melancholy, defeated
I seek shelter like a wounded yeti;
surround myself with simple memories
and hibernate. Depleted by drama
paws torn in frantic escape, I’m a pup– 
py, fearful, distrustful, fitful in sleep
Everywhere, even within me, foes lie
anticipating my imminent plea
Respite’s always brief. Would I had armor 
against the greed, gossip and media 
nonsense. Ultimately, I always bow in 
concession, perhaps the greatest cynic
ever. That’s how I can stand to surface. 

Authors in Indie Blu(e) Anthologies: Susi Bocks

Thank you to all the staff at Indie Blu(e) for this wonderful and unexpected feature on your blog! I am so fortunate that you’ve selected many of my pieces for the anthologies you’ve published. I am eternally grateful to be alongside all the wonderful voices you selected, and that we spoke to many important issues of our time, and revealed our humanity. A special thanks to Candice for what she has written and shared, making me blush more than once reading the positive compliments, reminding me how fortunate we are to have become such good friends. ❤ Thank you so much for sharing more about me with your readers. I appreciate that very much!

Indie Blu(e) Publishing

One idea we had that we thought might be fun is to highlight some of the authors, artists and writers IN Indie Blu(e) Anthologies. So with some regularity that’s the plan. If you have had work in an Indie Blu(e) anthology we’d LOVE to hear from you about your latest work and plug it here.

Indie Blu(e) believes passionately in getting to know our authors/artists/writers and this is one way the rest of you can find out more about the incredible people we’ve had the honor to host in our anthologies. Perhaps it will also bewitch you into purchasing a copy, but first and foremost, we want you to meet our talent.

With that in mind I’d like to introduce you to Susi Bockswho has been in several Indie Blu(e) anthologies including SMITTEN – This Is What Love Looks Like: Poetry by Women for Women, Through the Looking…

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